Sep 13, 2021

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Press Conference Transcript on Abortion Rights

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Press Conference Transcript on Abortion Rights
RevBlogTranscriptsNew York Gov. Kathy Hochul Press Conference Transcript on Abortion Rights

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a press conference on September 13, 2021 to address the new abortion law in Texas and advocate for protecting abortion rights. Read the transcript of the news briefing speech here.

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Alexis Posey: (00:00)
… everyone hear me?

Audience: (00:01)

Alexis Posey: (00:01)
Great, great. So welcome. And thank you for coming. I’m Alexis Posey, Chief Program Officer with the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund.

Audience: (00:10)
Woo hoo.

Alexis Posey: (00:10)
That’s right. We are a national advocacy organization that fights for just and equitable access to reproductive healthcare, and builds political power for reproductive freedom in states and cities across the country. NIRH goes on the offensive to pass laws that ensure people can get the care they need today while putting protections in place as a bulwark against attack.

Alexis Posey: (00:33)
We’re here today because what’s happening in Texas is a travesty and a tragedy, and it flies in the face of what people across this country and every state want and need. Senate Bill 8 bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and places of bounty on the heads of providers, support systems, and anyone who helps someone access abortion care after six weeks in Texas. It’s the most extreme abortion ban in the country. And it has opened the door for other states to follow suit. Already, we have seen Florida, South Dakota, Indiana, and Ohio look to replicate these restrictions. And we know due to centuries of systemic racism, Black, Latino, and indigenous people in particular will face the greatest barriers and be the most harmed by such restrictions.

Alexis Posey: (01:17)
The Supreme Court turned a blind eye to the devastation this ban will cause, and will soon hear another case that could further decimate abortion access. We’re on the verge of a catastrophe for access to abortion care across the country. That’s why we need to fight back. The situation will only continue to deteriorate if we don’t step up, speak out and take action in every way we can. Our job now is to press forward in every state we can, in every city we can to secure affordable abortion access, because everyone who needs care should receive it with support, with dignity, and most importantly, without fear.

Alexis Posey: (01:54)
Elected leaders at every level of government, and every state and city in this country have a responsibility to protect equitable access to abortion care right now. Some states are… I’m sorry. Excuse me. Some states are standing up. New Jersey is on the precipice of passing the Reproductive Freedom Act and Fort Lauderdale City Commission committed to protecting access to abortion and reproductive healthcare.

Alexis Posey: (02:16)
But New York. New York has always been leading this fight since we legalized abortion in 1970.

Audience: (02:22)
Woo hoo.

Alexis Posey: (02:22)
That’s right, New York. Today, I’m proud to stand aside… Excuse me. I’m proud to stand alongside New York’s elected leaders who have heard that call and are seizing the opportunity to strengthen our safeguards for reproductive health care.

Alexis Posey: (02:38)
New York continued its long legacy of standing up for abortion rights when we passed the Reproductive Health Act in 2019. The RHA decriminalized abortion in New York, a step that seems prescient in 2021. But Governor Hochul has recognized that that’s not enough. The threats we face are extreme and there is more than we can do. Excuse me, more that we can do. This too, is a continuation of a legacy. From her time in Congress fighting for contraceptive coverage and the Affordable Care Act, joining us time and time again as we fight to expand abortion rights here in New York, Governor Hochul has always prioritized speaking of reproductive rights. And that’s why I’m honored to introduce the Governor of the state of New York, Kathy Hochul.

Kathy Hochul: (03:29)
Thank you. My friends. Alexis, thank you for reminding us how forward thinking and extraordinary women of New York always have been, which is why we are drawn to this site, a place that many of us in this audience came to last August 26 to do the official unveiling. And it was not meant to be a stationary object that people walk past and say, “Well, that looks nice.” It’s supposed to be a place of inspiration and a place of motivation. And to remind us that yes, in our DNA as New Yorkers, as New York women in particular, we carry their weight on our shoulders, the burdens that they had to undertake to fight for women’s rights back in 1848 and in 1917, to make sure that we had the right to vote three years ahead of the rest of the nation.

Kathy Hochul: (04:18)
And again, we always liked to be three years ahead. We were exactly three years ahead when New York state in 1970 enacted rights to a safe, legal abortion, and the rest of the nation paid attention. And the people that are joined with me here today, these are today’s leaders, these are today’s champions. And I want you to celebrate them with me as I call out their names and recognize the organizations that they’re with. Because we don’t get anywhere as an individual in this state. We do it collaboratively, collectively, back to these brave women all the way to 2021. And I’ll be introducing my great partner in government, someone who embraced me when I landed in Congress and she was our Senator, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. I want to thank her. You’re going to hear from her in a couple of minutes. But Senator Gillibrand, I wanted to recognize you.

Kathy Hochul: (05:04)
Also, will be hearing from some of our speakers will be Robin Chappelle Golston will be speaking, as we’ve heard her many, many times, firing us up. She’s powerful. We’ll look forward to working with her. Dr. Mira Shah will be speaking. My former roommate in Congress and dear friend, Congressman Carolyn Maloney, who is an incredible leader, will be speaking as well. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, again, another history-making friend of mine. We have a lot of friends making some history there, my friend. And thank you for your incredible leadership. It has been a joy to work with you. Let me say that again. It has been a joy.

Speaker 1: (05:37)
[inaudible 00:05:37].

Kathy Hochul: (05:38)
That is very true.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (05:39)
The sky’s the limit.

Kathy Hochul: (05:40)
And Pascal Bernard will give her remarks as well. But also I just want to recognize some of the groups that are here. And you all came out here today. It’s a beautiful day. Our Commissioner of Parks and Historic Preservation, Erik Kulleseid is here. Erik, see you in the back there.

Kathy Hochul: (05:54)
Pam Ilam, the President of the Monumental Women, who created this statute. We love it. We love it. Thank you very much. The Central Park Conservancy is here. I know we’ve got some other elect… Oh, here’s our other electives. Oh my gosh.

Kathy Hochul: (06:07)
Also, we have Christine Quinn here, the CEO of WIN. We have Judith Kasen-Windsor, Bev Neufeld, Dean of [best 00:06:15] from Better Balance, Bev Neufeld. Also my elected friends in the front row here, Liz Krueger, who was one of the authors. She and assembly member Glick were the champions of the Reproductive Health Act at a time when people said it could not be done. And we actually had some procedural battles with the other side of the island, how nice it was. We no longer have to have those battles. But thank you for being there when things were tough. And Rebecca Seawright here, I see her always, always arrived.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (06:42)
This is the elected. It’s really long.

Kathy Hochul: (06:44)
And our great leader from this borough, my friend, Gale Brewer. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (06:49)
Senator Brad Hoylman.

Kathy Hochul: (06:50)
Senator Brad Hoylman is here. Senator, Senator. Oh, there you are. Oh, there you are. I look in the front row. Okay. Okay. Also, my friends… Let’s see, we have Helen Rosenthal.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (07:02)
It’s really long.

Kathy Hochul: (07:04)
Deborah Glick. [crosstalk 00:07:04].

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (07:04)
It’s really long.

Kathy Hochul: (07:04)
Okay. Joanne Simon’s here. Carlina…

Speaker 2: (07:07)
Oh my goodness.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (07:09)
We have the entire assembly here today.

Kathy Hochul: (07:10)
Helen Rosenthal, [inaudible 00:07:12].

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (07:11)
Thank you assembly members.

Kathy Hochul: (07:12)
Okay. Carlina Rivera, Helen Rosenthal, Helene Weinstein. And if I forgot your name, I owe you a drink. Okay, can we just… All right, so let’s get started. We’ve got some business at hand.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (07:23)
It’s too many.

Kathy Hochul: (07:24)
We have some business.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (07:25)
It’s awesome, though.

Kathy Hochul: (07:26)
I know. I like going out with my friends.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (07:27)
It’s pretty great.

Kathy Hochul: (07:28)
It’s awesome. It’s awesome. My friends, since September, since the Supreme Court let stand the Texas travesty on September 1st, we were a little preoccupied with a hurricane hitting at that moment, but I didn’t realize there was another hurricane brewing in our nation’s Capitol at that moment as well. And since then, women, all across this nation have had to confront the prospect that rights that we just took for granted our entire lives, rights that my grandmother had to fight for, rights that were just starting when my mother was a young woman, rights that were always there when I became a young adult, young woman, and rights that I assumed would be there for my now 30-something year old daughter. But all of a sudden that sense of security we once had in our nation has been ripped apart, shredded, the security blanket no longer.

Kathy Hochul: (08:22)
And the reason I love coming to places like this is because just when you think things are the darkest before the dawn, New Yorkers stand together, we pull together. And all of you represent thousands more across this state. And that is the power of what we do here.

Kathy Hochul: (08:38)
But think about what they did. I guarantee I did not know I was pregnant with my first child at six weeks. I actually went on a whitewater rafting trip, it turns out, at three months, because I didn’t know I was pregnant. I mean, that is the reality of real people. We don’t always know.

Kathy Hochul: (08:54)
So you’re denied the choice that should be yours as a woman, and something we took for granted by Texas who thinks six weeks is the magic date that you should have been aware, or you should know this. And that is grotesquely unfair, what they’re expecting people to do.

Kathy Hochul: (09:11)
And I’m glad the Department of Justice is taking Texas to court. I had a chance to have a brief conversation on Saturday with Merrick Garland, our attorney general. I said, “We’re with ya, keep going, fight on.” But it’s not just Texas. It’s Ohio, it’s Mississippi, it’s Alabama. All across the nation, people are waging this battle. And so, who are the warriors in this battle? Yes, it’s New York women once again to help our sisters across this country who don’t have the leadership in their state to look out for their rights.

Kathy Hochul: (09:44)
And so, yes, I invite them all to move to New York. Love to have you come. But also I want them to know that there’s a symbol that they need to look at when they’re trying to figure out what to do in their lives. And that symbol has been with us since 1886 in the New York Harbor. That is a strong, powerful woman with her hand up saying if you’ve been oppressed anywhere in this world, you come to our harbor. This is the safe harbor for people suffering from oppression. My friends, that oppression, in my judgment, is going on right now in the state of Texas. And our harbor is open for people to come here and understand that we, we will be there to take care of them and protect them.

Kathy Hochul: (10:26)
And so I want to make sure, first of all, that we follow up on the Reproductive Health Act. There are some loose ends that were not attended to, and thank you to the advocates for reminding us of what needed to get done. We want to make sure New York state patients, first of all, and anyone who comes there knows their rights. Sounds simple, but we want to make sure that we have an agenda. And I’m announcing today that we’re going to say if you don’t know your rights, you might as well not have these rights. You don’t know them and understand them.

Kathy Hochul: (10:54)
So we’re going to make sure that we direct all state agencies, I’m doing that right now as we speak, state agencies, particularly the Department of Health, to launch a public information campaign so new Yorkers and those who come here will know all the rights they have available when it comes to abortion access. And we’re going to work with all of our stakeholders out there. I need you. I need you to help with this.

Kathy Hochul: (11:12)
We will create a patient Bill of Rights to distribute in doctor’s offices and clinics and other organizations where people need guidance. It will be in plain, clear language, and in languages that people understand, no language barriers. And we’re going to make sure every single woman in the state of New York knows her rights. But also if we’re going to be a haven for people from elsewhere, we need to make sure that our healthcare providers are also equipped with the guidance they need. There’ve been some confusion. They’re not always sure about what’s what their rights and obligations are. So I’m also directing the Department of Health to take immediate action to develop and distribute modern and comprehensive provider guidance on their right to abortion care.

Kathy Hochul: (11:52)
And first of all, we’ll convene a group of experts. People know exactly what this should look like, how it should be done, and it’ll be shared with providers on webinars and other forms of information. Also, this pandemic showed us-

Kathy Hochul: (12:03)
Webinars and other forms of information. Also, this pandemic showed us the power of telemedicine, and I believe that even after the pandemic is over, we need to make sure, and we’re working on this now that we update regulations so medication abortion can be accessed through telemedicine. And I’m directing them to make sure that these updates are done as soon as possible. So they’re not just regulations they come to life and I’ll make sure that everyone knows they have these rights.

Kathy Hochul: (12:30)
Lastly, just as we’ve seen with this pandemic, we’re also waging a war against misinformation, which is a polite way of saying lies. And there are social media platforms that have been hijacked and used for this purpose. We saw it as a place where people sew fear, disinformation and affect people’s attitudes. I mean, that’s one of the reasons why we have 20% of the population who may never want to get the vaccine because they believe the lies that they read from what they thought was an honest, truthful source and that was not the case. And we’ve been here before in 1970 back when we passed the law, we had over 400,000 people from all over come here, two thirds from out of state came to our state. So we know people come here.

Kathy Hochul: (13:22)
Fast forward to 2019, we passed the Reproductive Health Act, we analyze all the social media that was going on at that time. From January 1st to March 20th, 2019, four out of 10 top stories receiving the most engagement on Facebook were articles about our very own Reproductive Health Act, and they are from anti-choice news sources that absolutely misrepresented and lied about the bill. That my friends is what I fear is going to happen again, that that disinformation, imagine an 18 year old girl trying to make a decision that’s going to affect her life. She believes that she has the courage to do what she wants to do and say, I’m going to have an abortion. But at the same time her friends and others are forwarding information and horrible messages and calling her a murderer. What does that do to the psyche of a young woman? It’s tormenting. And I believe that that has to stop and I believe that the social media organizations that are out there and I’m asking Facebook, starting today, to help clean up the act, help us wage a campaign of truths and not lies with respect to what is going on in Texas and what was going on here in the state of New York, because misinformation spreads like wildfire.

Kathy Hochul: (14:38)
So we have a letter going to Facebook today, we’ll see what they do with it, I’ll be watching and let them know we have expectations. We need them to do more on the vaccine, but they have started, they have to handle the abortion access information as well. So these are troubling times. We’ve been through some tough times before and New Yorkers know what to do. We stand tall, we fight hard and we let people know that we have their backs. You, as I said, do not have the leadership you deserve. You take care of that the next election, can’t help you there. But in the meantime, in the meantime, we have to stop extremists from taking women’s rights away that have been protected nationwide since 1973. I’m going forward, I’m not going back and I’m taking every one of you with me. Thank you [inaudible 00:15:28].

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (15:28)
Bravo. Great speech Governor.

Kathy Hochul: (15:32)
Thank you.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (15:33)
Great speech.

Kathy Hochul: (15:33)
And another amazing champion for reproductive health and women’s rights all around our great Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (15:39)
That was well done. Well, I have to say Governor, that was a great speech and your passion and your commitment and your leadership on this issue is unparalleled. You will be the greatest governor in our lifetime to fight for women’s reproductive freedom. So thank you so much, Governor, for your leadership on this. I want to recognize my colleague in Congress, Congresswoman Maloney, who has spent her career working for women’s reproductive freedom, that it means something and we are grateful for your leadership. I want to recognize everyone else here, standing with us, along with all the electives that are in the audience. I’ve never been to an event where all the elected are in the audience ever. So I want to thank you. And if you want to stand up here, because you want to be in the picture please do, you are always welcome to stand in any picture ever.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (16:29)
But it says something, it says something that every person here, every aspect of our government, our city council members to our state senators, every single elected leader in this community cares. They care about women. They care about transgender women. They care about reproductive services. They care about our basic civil rights and human rights. And that is what we’re here to talk about, it is our basic human rights. It’s meaningful that we are standing in this park, that we have Sojourner Truth standing behind us, or she’s sitting actually, sitting behind us. And we have Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony. These women were so far ahead of their time.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (17:08)
Sojourner Truth was the first woman to recognize that there was a duality of women’s rights and black rights that made the search and the struggle for black women exponentially harder. You have Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony, who together decided we are going to fight for women’s rights and the right to vote throughout our lifetime. They never saw that right, they did not get to see those rights. And so anytime that we, as a community, feel tired or dispossessed or discouraged, this is a reminder for us. You can work a lifetime and it is worth working your lifetime because every struggle that we have today is hopefully a struggle that our children and our children’s children do not have to have, but that is where we are in America today. And the forces that want to put America’s women back into history, the forces that want to deny women, reproductive freedom, basic human rights to decide what they do with their bodies, when they have children, under what circumstances they will have children and how many children they will have, are being denied to women all across this country. And it is a violation of human rights, undeniably. This Texas decision is abhorrent. I can’t imagine a worse decision for women. It does three things that is shocking. First, the governor said so perfectly, six weeks is very early. Many young women will not know whether or not they’re pregnant at six weeks. Second, it deputizes vigilantes to go after you, anybody in that state has universal standing to go after you and make sure you get prosecuted if you are seeking an abortion or helping someone make a decision. So the third thing it does is it creates a right of action against anyone. You sat with your friend and talked to her about what she wants to do with her future. I can sue you. I can put you in jail. I can make you pay $10,000. It is shocking, shocking, what they did in Texas and Texas isn’t alone. Texas is just the first big idea that these conservative legislators have all throughout America.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (19:45)
We have another lawsuit that’s being filed, that is extremely dangerous in Mississippi. Mississippi, they’re going to hear, the Supreme Court will hear a case on the Mississippi’s 15 week abortion ban that is a direct challenge to Roe V. Wade. And you have creative lawyers all across the country, New York Times had an article about it yesterday who have spent their lives, figuring out what lawsuit, what can I file to get to the Supreme Court to eradicate women’s reproductive freedom. And it’s more than just this question of when you should have access to care. They wanted to deny women their humanity. And this is what’s so frustrating. They want to make sure that women and transgender people are second class citizens, because they want to take away these fundamental decision-making capabilities. It’s as simple as that.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (20:41)
Imagine taking away 51% of the population’s decision about what kind of healthcare to seek and when to seek it and what treatments are appropriate for you. It’s unconscionable. So on the federal level, my job and Carolyn’s job is to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. This would basically codify Roe V. Wade. It would tell these state legislators and governors across the country, that it is not their purview to make these decisions. Now to get that done that is going to be very hard because we may have to have filibuster reform before we pass it in the Senate. I fully support filibuster reform to pass reproductive freedom in the US Senate.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (21:29)
We also have to continue our struggle to repeal the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is what makes it unfair for low-income women. So it tells people, oh, sure, sure you still have abortion protections, but not if you don’t have the money for it, not if you don’t have the resources, not if you don’t have the ability to pay. And that’s what’s so unconstitutional about the Hyde Amendment. It determines who has access based on how much money you have. And so our job in the Senate and the House is to make sure we repeal Hyde.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (22:02)
And last, our job is to lift up your voices. To make sure that every single person here who cares deeply about these rights can be heard. And we will, every single one of us here, not stop fighting until every person has the freedom to make the decisions she wants for her future. It’s about our bodies, it’s about our Liberty, it’s about our civil rights and it is about our fundamental human rights. You want to introduce the next one, Robin.

Kathy Hochul: (22:39)
Robin Chappelle Golston, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts. I always think Empire Strikes Back. I love that. I love that [inaudible 00:22:48]

Robin Chappelle Golston: (22:48)
You’re with Liz, that’s Liz’s thing. Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Senator. And thank you so much, Governor. I’m so proud to be here today and see so many friendly faces. I do want to just acknowledge a couple of advocates that were not acknowledged earlier on that have been really part and key to this fight. Donna Lieberman from NYCLU and Andrea [Capell 00:23:12] from the National Council of Jewish Women. So just want to throw it out and then I’ll just have to acknowledge my boss, Daniel Donald. I see you in the flag.

Robin Chappelle Golston: (23:21)
But it’s amazing to be here. It’s amazing to be at this event because it’s so important. We know what’s going on across the country and showing that New York is going to be a leader, be proactive, be interactive, and really fight this at every point, every opportunity, is really inspiring and exciting. And we’re so happy to have a true advocate and true champion that has been here through thick and thin, has been always here for us in every capacity. So it’s so great to have her in this position to really be able to fight and stand by her values that she’s always had. This is an opportunity to really provide clarity for providers and for patients. So everybody knows their rights and that’s so important because there is a lot of confusion, as the Governor said-

Robin Chappelle Golston: (24:03)
And that’s so important because there is a lot of confusion as the governor said. And so also too, we fought for the RHA for years and everyone was like, oh, it’s fine. Nothing’s going to happen. We don’t need it, but we need it. And we need more of it. So thank you to all of you that have fought for this for years, and we’re going to keep going and keep pushing it. They’re going to be aggressive. We’re going to be more aggressive. And we’re going to fight back against this. It’s my privilege and honor to introduce someone that is on the front line of providing this important care, Dr. Mira Shaw, who will talk about her experience as a provider. And it’s just so great to see all of you and thank you for joining us in this big fight.

Dr. Mira Shaw: (24:42)
Thank you so much, Robin. As the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood [inaudible 00:24:47] I get up each and every day, along with a staff of Planned Parenthoods across the country to provide compassionate, patient centered care to everyone who walks through our doors. At a time when access to sexual and reproductive health care is under constant attack, we at Planned Parenthood welcome every patient that comes through our doors, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and ability to pay. I am so honored to be able to be there for my patients during the critical moments in their life, from learning how to protect themselves once they become sexually active, from supporting them when they want to become a parent, or caring for them when parenting is not in their life plan. I am a proud abortion provider. I truly value a person’s right to decide if and when they are ready to become a parent. The national landscape around abortion care is far from reassuring. When abortion access is littered with political interference, innocent people suffer. My colleagues in Texas have been sharing their stories with me of their current reality. Turning patients away for life-saving care has been so painful to say the least. Patient’s rights are under attack. And many states, too many states have been successful in stripping away at the ability of individuals to access life affirming abortion care.

Dr. Mira Shaw: (26:12)
A few years ago, I started to fly to Southbend, Indiana to provide abortion care after the city had been without a provider since 2015. It is extremely difficult for me to see patients in Indiana struggled to receive access to the most basic reproductive healthcare they need and deserve. Medically unnecessary waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, and insurance bans are common in many states in the US. The burden of abortion restrictions falls hardest on those with the least resources, especially black and brown people.

Dr. Mira Shaw: (26:41)
The zip code in which you live should not determine the basic health care services that you need. I feel lucky to practice in a state that views abortion care as a human right and implements policy that continue to improve access for our patients. Harmful restrictions like those in Texas and India don’t exist in New York. In this moment now more than ever, it is imperative that New York continue to be a leader and expand access to abortion care.

Dr. Mira Shaw: (27:08)
Being an abortion provider is not easy. It is oftentimes fraught with fear and stigma, but nothing will stop my colleagues and I from continuing to provide a service that ensures our patient’s survival in good health. As we remain dedicated and faithful to our patients, we thank New York state for supporting us, and the fact that abortion access means dignity and freedom for all. Thank you. And now, I’d like to introduce Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney: (27:41)
Thank you so much. I am honored to be here with Governor Hochul, New York state’s first woman governor. And State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York state’s first state leader ever in our history. And our Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the first Senator to represent our great state. And we are standing in front of three women who gave women the right to vote, led the way, that enabled us to elect these extraordinary women. And I have to mention thank you to all the electeds, all the women on the city, state, and federal level that are here. And I have to mention the like-minded men who are allies. We can’t do it without them. State Senator Brad [inaudible 00:28:36], stand up. Harvey Epstein, assemblyman, Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell. Thank you. We need your votes. We need their support. Believe me. It is a war zone when it comes to fighting for these rights in Congress.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney: (28:51)
We are here to say that the extremist laws that will make abortion illegal, that will eliminate the right to abortion like the Texas law have got to stop. They have been chipping away, chipping away at a woman’s right to choose. I used to keep a scorecard on women’s issues when on abortion. When it got to 334 attempts to chip away at Roe V. Wade that they succeeded at, and the House of Representatives stopped in the Senate or at the White House, but they succeed. I stopped keeping it, but it is a fight on every level on abortion rights, in our legislatures across this country and in our Congress. And they are no longer chipping away. They are bulldozing. They are bulldozing and overturning a woman’s right to abortion, a right to choice, legalizing… Make no mistake. What they are doing with Texas is they are stopping. They’re overturning Roe V. Wade in that state. They are making the right to abortion illegal in Texas, and they are just starting.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney: (30:12)
And I must tell you that as we look at these actions, underpinning all of them is the paramount need to protect the right to vote. Congress must support national voting rights legislation to ensure that citizens are empowered to elect officials who will respect our constitutional right to access to reproductive healthcare. We need to pass HR1, the For the People Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. We have passed these important voting rights bills in the House of Representatives. The Senate needs to pass them. And if they do not pass them, then we need to carve out voting rights from the filibuster, carve out voting rights for women’s reproductive rights, and carve out the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment into our constitution.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney: (31:21)
It’s been ratified. 38 states did it. The filibuster cannot continue to stop our basic rights, but it goes back to the right to vote, of all the rights which these ladies fought for. They gave their life. They died without the right to vote. My mother was born without the right to vote, but the right to vote is absolutely central to our reproductive rights and every other rights. And I must say that New York state has led the way in legalizing abortion, even before Roe V. Wade. And I thank the New York state leadership for preserving our rights. And I thank our governor for leading us here today, for her great leadership, and Andrea Stewart-Cousins. All these three women are the first. Congratulate from.

Governor Hochul: (32:13)
Our great Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Thank you very much.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (32:21)
So I hope that everybody’s taken a look at this, right? Because New York is leading in so many ways, but for us to be here with the first woman governor? Governor Hochul, an amazing, amazing champion, who I have had the privilege of working with since she took office as Lieutenant Governor. And yes, a better champion women could not have, especially at this moment.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (32:50)
And to my left Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, again, a fearless, fearless… I mean, the cornerstone of so much of what she does is about women, about women’s rights, about women’s reproductive health and freedom. Thank you, Senator Gillibrand, for your amazing leadership. And don’t we love Carolyn.

Speaker 3: (33:11)
We sure do.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (33:11)
I mean, when she gets up, it is fiery because she’s here, but she’s never, ever lost the sense of why she’s here. And she knows that that fiery-ness is sometimes what’s necessary to light us into a place where we actually do what we need to do. And so here I am with my great friends, from the National Institute of Reproductive Health and Planned Parenthood and all these activists and our elected officials. And I got to tell you, I sadly have the task of saying who’s here.

Speaker 3: (33:55)
And all the things you do [inaudible 00:33:57].

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (33:55)
And all the-

Speaker 3: (33:55)
It’s a lot.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (33:56)
So I’m going to do [crosstalk 00:33:58].

Speaker 3: (33:58)
Please recognize everyone, but please come up if you want to come up.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (34:00)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, yeah, come up. Whatever you want. But I want to make sure that again, and I know the governor had, but she was winging it, but this wasn’t her job.

Speaker 3: (34:12)
I don’t know why they told you to do that. It should never have been your job.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (34:12)
So it’s actually one of-

Governor Hochul: (34:19)
I won’t take your job.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (34:20)
No, because you’re busy.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (34:26)
So we have borough president, Gail Brewer. Stand up, let the people see you. My great colleague and friend, Senator Liz Krueger, stand up. Yay. Senator Rand [inaudible 00:34:41], stand up. Is Assembly Member Carmen Delarosa here? Okay.

Speaker 3: (34:46)
She’s coming.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (34:47)
Okay. Assemblywoman Joanne Simon, stand up. Assembly Member Helene Weinstein, budget chair. Daniel Donald, you got a shout out. You’re getting another one. Harvey Epstein, you two. He’s an assembly member. Assembly Member Jennifer Raj Kumar, is she here? There she is, hi.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (35:10)
Okay. Assembly Member Diana Richardson. Didn’t see Diana. Assemblywoman Rebecca Searide. Hi Rebecca. I did see Assembly Member David Weprin. Hey David. I know I see Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal. How about Council Member Adrian Adams? Hi, Adrian. Okay. Council Member Diana Ayala. Okay. Council member Carlina Rivera. Carlina, hi Carlina. Okay. Council Member Helen Rosenthal. Okay. Did I miss anybody?

Speaker 3: (35:56)
Tracy [inaudible 00:35:58].

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (35:58)
Tracy Jackson, chief of staff for Assembly Member Deborah Glick.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (36:02)
… and Chief of Staff for assembly member Deborah Glick. Okay.

Speaker 4: (36:05)
Anybody else?

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (36:05)
Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz. Hey, Catalina. Okay.

Speaker 4: (36:12)
[Joann 00:36:12] Simon?

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (36:12)
I said Joann. Okay. Yeah. We’ll get two, three times. Okay. Anybody else? Again? I’ll be like the governor, but it’s not because we didn’t love you. It’s because you’re not on the list, but it doesn’t mean we don’t love you.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (36:24)
So I’m also here to put things in perspective a bit. because we’re in New York, we’re leaders, we’re wonderful, and we did that despite all odds in what is supposed to be a blue state. And it was all about the Republicans insisting on not allowing women in New York state the right to choose.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (36:59)
When I first got elected in 2006, and first came in in 2007, I carried the Women’s Reproductive Health Act. They explained to me that I was seeking attention. I’m a politician though.

Speaker 4: (37:22)
It’s your job description. It’s your job.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (37:23)
You know? But what they didn’t say is that it was such a dangerous road to be on, because even here in New York, I was picketed. My offices were attacked. It’s New York. And in the background, not only was I seeking attention needlessly, but the endeavor was unnecessary because this was settled law. The fact that New York’s reproductive health was in the homicide description didn’t matter to my Republican colleagues. And there were some that said that it did matter, and that they would vote for it. And then every time they had the opportunity, they did not.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (38:23)
When I had the privilege of taking on the leadership of this great senate body, Senator Liz Krueger, who had always been an advocate, carried that bill. And when we were in the position of finally being in the majority, we passed that bill. We passed it in 2019. How many years ago was that? Not many. I just want to put it in perspective. And we did the Contraceptive Care Act. And we did the Boss Bill. And we did so many things to tell women that their rights were being preserved here in New York.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (39:09)
I will remind everyone that, even in 2019, not one Republican voted for a woman’s right to choose in New York. I’m not here to bring you down. I’m here to give you a sense of reality and to tell you that what we are applauding ourselves about and what we are saying is our leadership came at a very late date in a time that we were supposed to be a very progressive state.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (39:43)
So you can imagine what’s happening around this country. It is all about leadership. It is all about the vote. It is all about understanding where we are and that we can never rest, even if we had the privilege of being born into a situation where we didn’t have to fight for this stuff, because we’re still fighting for voting rights. We are still fighting for women’s rights. We’re still fighting for the rights of transgender people. We are still fighting for the rights of every single body because at the root of this is who has the power, and what that power will do and can do to keep people out and to put people in.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (40:28)
If we are who we say we are, if we are the embodiment of a nation and a state that gives you a leadership team that looks like this, it is incumbent upon us to be very clear about who we are and where we are. And as the governor said, know that we are going forward. We are not going back. So let’s get it done. Thank you.

Speaker 4: (40:54)
Well said.

Speaker 5: (40:54)
Great job.

Kathy Hochul: (41:00)
Now we’ll hear from Pascale Bernard, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. Pascale?

Pascale Bernard: (41:08)
Good morning. Thank you so much, Governor, and the other elected leaders here and the advocates.

Pascale Bernard: (41:16)
Today is a somber day, and I thank you, Leader Stewart, because you framed it well. But let’s think about Texas for a moment. We have medical centers in Texas. We have call centers. Our call centers are now crisis centers. Women are calling. They are fearful for their lives. They don’t know what to do. Our providers, like Dr. Shaw, are doing the best that they can under very difficult circumstances.

Pascale Bernard: (41:50)
People are having to make decisions to leave the state. What does it take to leave the state? If you have children, you got to find childcare. If you don’t have a support system, you can’t leave the children with just anyone. You may have to decide, are you going to feed your family, or are you going to terminate this pregnancy in California?

Pascale Bernard: (42:15)
These are the very difficult decisions that people in Texas are making. It is sad. And to our brothers and sisters in Texas, we got you. This is New York. As the Governor has said, the Statue of Liberty is a beacon, and thanks to what’s happening today, we are getting more support for providers. We are breaking disinformation and we’re creating a pathway. And we thank you, Governor Hochul. We thank you for your brave leadership. And we thank all these fearless leaders up here. Women of New York state are fearless. They are bold. They will not be turned back. We will not be turned back.

Pascale Bernard: (43:02)
Texas, we got you. Thank you.

Speaker 4: (43:04)
Well said. Well said. Thanks, Pascale.

Kathy Hochul: (43:10)
I think that message is going to resonate all across this nation because we do have your back. We care about every one of our sisters across this nation. And I want to thank all the leaders of New York state for being part of this today.

Kathy Hochul: (43:24)
And with that, I’ll take a couple on topic questions. If you want to grab me on something tough, you can catch me before I get to the car. We’ll see who’s faster.

Speaker 8: (43:37)
[inaudible 00:43:37].

Kathy Hochul: (43:40)
Right, right. There was unfinished business after the Reproductive Health Act was passed in 2019. And, for whatever reason, I will say, now that I’m in charge, there’ll be no more delays in getting the regulations out. Simply by having visual patient bill of rights available, having information available online, public service information available. Also, providers have said there’s some confusion as to what they should be doing, and I want to make sure, just like every corner of our state government, there’s clarity, there’s transparency. So we are looking at the regulations and making sure that they are crystal clear and we’ll be announcing more on that.

Kathy Hochul: (44:23)
But also I’m calling on Facebook and other purveyors of social media platforms to help us get the truth out. This may be the biggest takeaway, that we’re calling them out for what we saw happen during that couple month period right after the Reproductive Care Act was passed. Everybody was all agitated. We saw this around our state, and you wondered where it was coming from. It was coming from people reading lies on social media, and I want to make sure as we enter this new chapter after what the Supreme Court upheld on September 1st, is that we ensure that we don’t allow those lies to continue, that there’s accountability and responsibility at the top of those companies to help just tell the truth across this nation.

Speaker 7: (45:06)
[inaudible 00:45:06].

Kathy Hochul: (45:06)
No, I will absolutely be looking at that. I want to make sure what I do … this may seem radical. I’ve over 400 bills on my desk right now. I want to know what’s in them. I want to know the rationale behind each one, and make sure that we get it. But your timing is right that this is something …

Pascale Bernard: (45:40)
[inaudible 00:45:40].

Kathy Hochul: (45:40)
Okay. Oh, okay. Well, then it’s not on my desk. Then I support it. Why did I have to go through all that?

Kathy Hochul: (45:51)
One more question. One more.

Speaker 6: (45:52)
Is there something tangible that can be done, not just working for voting rights, or whatever, [inaudible 00:46:01] you to help women in Texas right now get access to abortions? [crosstalk 00:46:08].

Speaker 4: (46:10)
Bus tickets.

Kathy Hochul: (46:10)
Yeah. Yeah.

Kathy Hochul: (46:13)
Absolutely. And we’ll be working with Planned Parenthood to see exactly what they need from the state of New York. Again, this is a fairly new in terms of our response. I want to make sure that we have it right for women in our own state, which was not the case until we took these steps here today. But you’re absolutely right. I don’t want to just talk about it. I want to have a physical manifestation of what help looks and feels like, and we’ll get that done with all the people right here.

Kathy Hochul: (46:37)
Thank you everybody. Appreciate you coming out today.

Speaker 4: (46:41)
Thank you. Well said, Governor. It was a great press conference. Thank you.

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